"The Banana Splits Movie": Turning Your Childhood Dreams into Nightmares [INTERVIEW]
One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana, Gore! Fleagle, Drooper, Bingo, and Snorky, the beloved children's television hosts from Hannna-Barbera's 1968 Saturday morning variety show The Banana Splits Adventure Hour are back to bring you some , gore filled, nightmare fuel in The Banana Splits Movie. SYFY, Blue Ribbon Content, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment offers us animatronic musicians from a children's show who take extreme measures to make sure that the show goes on forever – no matter what the body count. Now at San Diego Comic Con 2019 (SDCC), the cast and writers sit down to spill the blood… I mean beans… with Bleeding Cool.
First to join us at the table is Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries, A Series Of Unfortunate Events). Sara stars as Rebecca, the producer of The Banana Splits Show, and is eager to talk about this film. On reading the script for the first time, Canning did not watch the show as a child so she had to look it up online. After watching the opening credits she thought "This is an acid trip. This is crazy." she continues, "It is meant to be a straight horror film, but there are camp elements that arise just because its a bunch of furry things running around and massacring people."
The video of the interview below is A little SPOILERY, so fair warning. Sara talks about how much she loves working with Danishka Esterhazy (Level 16, Critters Attack), what draws her to the horror genre, her personal feelings about her character Rebbeca, and which one of the Splits is he favorite. There is also so much more, just push the sideways triangle to watch the magic.
Next we are joined by the jovial Eric Bauza (The Looney Tunes Show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ), voice of all the Banana Splits, who is a true joy to interview. Each answer contains a different character's voice and sometimes it is hard to keep up. The Toronto born Bauza got his start playing dimwitted Stimpy on Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon and has now worked his way up to the official voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, and is even rumored to be the new voice of Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. Today he sits down with a very large coffee to tell us about The Banana Splits Movie. After taking a big sip he tells Bleeding Cool that the original Banana Splits are some of his biggest influences in the voice acting world.
"Allan Melvin, Don Messick, Daws Butler, Paul Winchell- these are like the Mount Rushmore of voice over, just missing June Foray and Mel Blanc."
Eric shares his thoughts when he heard the premise-
"I was hell's yeah. You're going to take children's characters and make them into a horror movie? I was all on board. Warner Brothers, they have a tremendous library of amazing characters and we've seen them re-invent these characters a number of times. I think that they've tried to do a kids version of Banana Splits again, they definitely tried to do an internet show. I believe this was just the last step. Turning them into murderers."
Voices include Tigger, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Paul Winchell, Dr. Quest, and whoa, I lost count. In this slightly SPOILERY video Bauza tells about his prep watching the old series, why costumed characters scare him, comparisons to Five Nights at Freddy's, tricks to separating the Banana Splits different voices and a lot more.
Finally we are joined by the writing team of Jed Elinoff (Malibu Rescue, Raven's Home) and Scott Thomas (Kill Creek, Randy Cunninham: 9th Grade Ninja) have been working in children's television for quite a while now, which makes them the perfect guys to take an old Warner Brother's property and really try to twist it. Scott tells us the inspiration for taking children's show and turning it into a horror film came from SYFY and Blue Ribbon Content.
"They called us up and said 'We want to do a Banana Splits horror movie.' and that's all they said. We, really immediately knew what that was. When you watch these shows there is something inherently creepy about someone in a full costume. You don't see their face, dancing around doing crazy things, manic things. If you replace the theme music from Banana Splits with the Halloween music, it would be scary."
With a career in children's television I had to wonder how much of the story is the boys protecting their sickest dreams onto the screen, Jed tells me:
"We worked a ton in kids TV, like 4 shows in kids TV. So in a lot of ways this was much more like a catharsis on all the people we've ever worked with. Any time we had pent up, anything, we put into this."
Scott finishes the thought, "Let's have some fun here, let's take this world where we've had some ups and downs, and let the Killer Banana Splits run wild."
Jed and Scott tell us so much more in the Video below, but again- SPOILERY. The duo share how movies like Westworld and Child's Play influenced the project, their reactions to hearing their written words in the Splits voices, how much they were censored by the execs, and Scott promises that "Love it or hate it, people are going to talk about the banana splits again."
The Banana Splits Movie will be available digitally Aug. 13, and on blu-ray and DVD Aug. 27 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.